Wang RQ, Stacey MT, Herdman L, Barnard P, Erikson L (2018) The influence of sea level rise on the regional interdependence of coastal infrastructure. Earth’s Future (online). DOI: 10.1002/2017EF000742
Sea‐level rise (SLR) is placing both immediate and long‐term pressures on coastal communities to take protective actions. Projects in the United States, and in many locations throughout the world, generally involve local jurisdictions raising the elevation of shoreline protection elements, with limited or no analysis of the feedback between shoreline management decisions and the impacts to water levels regionally. Our study examines the impact of local shoreline development on regional flood risk and considers sea‐level rise scenarios up to 1.5 meter using a large‐scale numerical model, as an example, for San Francisco Bay. Here we show that measures to prevent flooding along an embayment shoreline in one location or subregion may increase inundation elsewhere in the system. The network of interactions occurs not only within sub‐basins of the Bay but also across the greater geographic extent from one end of the Bay to the other, and local jurisdiction may have either reciprocal relationships with or asymmetric impacts on one other. Importantly, the nature of the interaction network is seen to evolve with sea‐level rise: interactions are purely subregional at current sea level, but with higher sea level (e.g. 1 meter of SLR), not only do the subregional interdependencies strengthen, but regional interdependences emerge.